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Dreamfall Chapters: Book Three - Realms (PC) artwork

Dreamfall Chapters: Book Three - Realms (PC) review

"I'm a faaaaancy lady!"

The main gist of the opening puzzle in Dreamfall Chapters: Book Three is arranging a collection of nine children’s drawing in chronological order pertaining to a simplified plot explanation for The Longest Journey, a game released over fifteen years ago. Back when Chapters first became a thing, I remember a big chunk of the initial press release talking about how it would be inclusive to people who have not played the previous games. I doubted this in Book One when the intro made cameos of several of the co-cast from the original Dreamfall. I scoffed at it when a plot twist in the second book revolved around a minor character from near the end of that game which might have been more memorable if she wasn’t overshadowed by the conclusion of Faith’s story (oh, man, how good was the conclusion to Faith’s story? If anything else happened around that time it’s going to be soo overshadowed!). By the time I was asked to remember how the original game played out just to get past the prologue of Book Three, I was reasonably sure I was being trolled.

It didn’t help that you had to find the pictures first; some of them hidden in plain sight but others aggravatingly burrowed away. As a prologue scene, it’s also headed up by tottering toddler, Saga, who only just avoids being called out on being a sadly obvious drop in the quality of voice acting by stealing an umbrella and dancing around while singing “I’m a fancy lady!”. This section of events is blissfully short, which is about the only positive I can come up with. Suffer through it; you’ll really want to suffer through it.

Dreamfall Chapters Book Three - Realms (PC) image

Dreamfall: Chapters is at that part of proceedings when episodic releases stop playing set-up and start advancing the main plot, bringing a lot of your choices into sometimes harsh focus. Kian’s behaviour up until now might have bonded him with people once considered sworn enemies or alienated his closest supporters. Or both. Or neither. Still surviving in the shadows of magical alter-world, Arcadia, the passage of time is illustrated by the new manly beard he’s cultivated and by the actions of the people around him. Perhaps there’s still ticking time bombs in their ranks, decisions made just waiting to blow up in his face no matter how good his initial intentions. In a commendable shift from Telltale’s choices of no choice really being wrong but existing in differing shades of grey, some of the things Kian might have done will just be plain incorrect. He’ll have to live with those calls but, regardless of how well he copes with that, his time lurking behind the scenes is almost certainly up.

Zoe’s chapters within the new release are of a more linear nature than her rugged co-protagonist, who greedily keeps all the multi-pathed puzzle-solving for himself. Much like Kian, Zoe has been forced to change with the passing of time, the conclusion of the previous release showing their obvious effects on her. Physically, she bears the scars of her adventures, but she’s finally at the point where she’s no longer content being the poor little coma girl with amnesia and actively searches for answers. The neon lights and cyber-punkish backdrop of Stark becomes less and less of a feature as martial law takes more and more control of the city, regulating her exploration to only a few claustrophobic locations. Answers about her world as well as Kian’s are slowly spilt, sense starts to trickle into the story. The actions you undertake suddenly have that much more gravity to them.

Dreamfall Chapters Book Three - Realms (PC) image

How you manage to catch that rat is important! There’s finally a crossroad between the two tales, one made all the more worthwhile by a recurring character from both previous games finally making his way back onto the new stage. The return of Crow is heralded with noise, wit and streams and streams of well acted dialogue that help you forget that unfortunate Saga bit at the beginning. Anyone who have played either of previous Longest Journey adventure will remember him fondly as the comic relief, but it’s a role that has evolved along with the over-branching plot. Suddenly, he’s part of the game, not just the chatty sidekick, as threads from previous chapters are tidied away so new ones can sprout in their place.

Book Three - Realms is the point of the game where Dreamfall stops concentrating on setting the pins up, and finally starts promising to knock them all down.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (July 04, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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zippdementia posted July 04, 2015:

Of course, I'm really curious about Dreamfall chapters. I helped kickstart it, though never got my prize... I'm not the only one, they didn't manage the prize hand out very well. Really, I don't care, because I got so much enjoyment and love out of Longest Journey (replaying on my iPad right now, FINALLY that's a thing you can do!)

Anyway, glad it's you reviewing.
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EmP posted July 06, 2015:

I've had a torrid time trying to replay TLJ. My original copy of the game has been snapped for reasons unknown, so I got a digital copy off Steam. That kinda runs on my computer, but only in the top quarter of the screen, which is weird and annoying. I finally got it to run on an old laptop, so now I just to that. On a smaller screen that I would have liked. Without awesome sounds. And with one of those touchpad mouses no one likes.

After I had finished up the second season of Waking Dead, I promised myself no more episodic reviews -- they're a nightmare to put together. But, man, I love this series so much I knew I had to try and do something with it. But, after this, no more episodic stuff until the next one.

Thanks for reading.
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disco1960 posted June 03, 2016:

Wait, there's more than one way to catch the rat?
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EmP posted June 03, 2016:

Now you're testing my memory...

Yes, pretty sure. I think I got him by spiking leftover meat with.... booze or spice? Made him fall asleep, the threw him in the suction pipe for a messy demise.

The end of episode choice rundown listed it as one of the choices you make. Been a while, though.
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disco1960 posted June 03, 2016:

They really do need to hurry it up with the next book. I won't even mind if it opens with Saga stuff.
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EmP posted June 04, 2016:

Let's not be crazy, now...

But it's certainly taking a while. I'm thinking about replaying the entire thing to catch myself back up.

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